In Run 8 Rider, what years ago at first seemed as though it might become cowpunk (Lone Ryders, Rank & File, Tex & the Horseheads, etc.) turns out to be NuCountry with whiffs of pop sensibilities amid a strong alt baseline. Not only do songs by Wilco, Morphine, and even Devo appear on Run 8 Rider's Tenderfoot, but there are numerous music history references peppered liberally throughout. For instance, Cars handclaps and Ventures surf snippets crop up in Patience and then The Ballad of Marshal Smith blends C.W. McCall with Red Sovine, steps behind the Ventures to yank a tad of the Fireballs forward, then ambles on over Charlie Daniels' way.
Half the fun of this rootsy rockin' rollin' disc, in fact, is decoding all the influences slinking through the 12-cut affair. I'd love to hear these guys serve up a country take of The Tubes' White Punks on Dope 'cause it's riiiiiight up their alley but have to say I dig their version of George Micahels' Faith one hell of a lot more than Georgie-boy's own. Nor is the plentiful balladry lacking in any respect, Lucinda a heart tug, for one, with Ain't No Rules, my fave track, taking Flash & The Pan down to the Mexicali border, sprechestimme hip, mellowed out, and dusky with night stars. Put on the radio, this cut would be a hit.
There've been a lot of attempts to craft country sounds into a more modernist mode—Snail, Cowboy, and various others heading up the list over the years—some quite good, others a bit too sweetsy lovey-dovey to cut the mustard, but Run 8 Rider figured it out: stick solidly to the C&W fundament but weave many overlayers of latterday coolness, such as all that Sniff 'N the Tears material in Do You Remember? reminding me of the sort of flowing velvet Blue Line Highway favors. 'N by the way, them five cowpokes (wimmens included) staring hard-assed at ya in the CD's liner? Just a subtle hint thar's a-gonna be trouble in Dodge City if'n ya don't pick up a copy of this cool-ss disc of tumbleweeds, cactarooses, tongue-in-cheekery, purpling skies, and North 40 refrains. I'm just sayin'.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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